Solon wants pork cut out of draft Constitution @Joseph_Morong; GMA News

Solon wants pork cut out of draft Constitution

This one goes well with limitless terms in parliament, but it won’t pass if former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares can muster enough public support to shame Congress into throwing it out of the agenda for the amendment of the 1987 Constitution.

In a statement, Colmenares on Sunday slammed a House of Representatives subcommittee proposal that would “enshrine” pork barrel in the proposed federal Constitution.


Budget share

Colmenares zeroed in on the proposal to allocate an “annual share” in the state and federal budgets to each district, as well as the senators and the party-list groups.

The proposal came from the subcommittee chaired by Davao Oriental Rep. Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon.

“It is clear from the provision that an ‘amount’ will be allocated to each senator, each party-list congressman as well as district congressmen,” said Colmenares, who now chairs Bayan Muna.

He said getting some of the supposed pork barrel funds from the federal states’ budgets would defeat the purpose of shifting to federalism.

“Federalism is supposed to disperse funds from the national government to the regions and provinces, but this reverses that purpose,” he said.

Unconstitutional

Colmenares also said the proposal was meant to reverse the Supreme Court’s Nov. 19, 2013, ruling declaring unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and similar mechanisms that allowed legislators to intervene in the postenactment stage of the budget.

No need to hide

“If this (amendment of the Constitution) succeeds, there is no need to hide pork barrel in the departments since the new Constitution allows it,” he said.

Recalling the pork barrel scam in which legislators allegedly diverted P10 billion in PDAF proceeds to bogus foundations, Colmenares said: “[Charter change] proponents would like to constitutionalize a system that drains public funds to corruption.”

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